The United States has long historic ties to the Pacific Islands, but for many decades this region has taken a back seat to other areas viewed by U.S. policymakers as holding greater strategic and economic weight. This has begun to change as Washington has started shifting its focus back to the Pacific Islands, reaching levels of political attention in recent months not seen since the end of the Pacific War in 1945.
While the Pacific Islands are important for a range of reasons, not least their extreme vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, it has been China’s recent diplomatic and economic push into the region that has caused growing concern and renewed diplomatic attention in many capitals. The United States has long enjoyed strong ties and warm relationships with countries in the region, but the calls for significantly boosting levels of engagement, dialogue, and cooperation commensurate with the region’s strategic significance are new.
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